The need for drama

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One of the skills I have learnt from my involvement in drama through the years is to aim to understand the motivation of each character in a narrative sequence. To quote some song lyrics, there is good and bad in everyone. Most of us believe we are here to do constructive things, so the idea that anyone is intrinsically bad is based on subjective perception.

The scriptures have provided some pointers for us regarding what is good and evil. One can only wonder what the world would be like if we didn’t have those guidelines. But people will find ways to justify courses of action and opinions, based on their own interpretations of these ideas, so it isn’t easy to identify a moral compass that has an absolute or objective perspective.

In a recent conversation, an acquaintance spoke of the need to purge a society of wayward thinkers and doers. He also mentioned the importance of education in refreshing the minds of young people, who are the standard bearers for the future. I gently reminded him of the fact that the youngsters in question are offspring of the people he would like to purge from society. They are learning how to function in the world from the same folks he would like to somehow exclude.

Legal systems are similar to the scriptures, in the sense that folks can find creative ways to interpret laws, so they can justify choices they make to protect their own turfs. Those who can afford to pay for suitable legal representation are able to get away with antisocial behaviour. Sadly, it seems like the custodians of belief systems are also tempted to play fast and loose with scriptural interpretations, for the sake of mammon.

Perhaps this is the reason why the Ancient Greeks chose to regard theatre an important pillar of civilised society. Looking at the motivation of characters in plot narratives can be useful in reminding citizens about the importance of maintaining a clear conscience in thoughts and actions.